Enrich your holiday – learn the local language!

2 Jan

Enrich your holiday – learn the local language!

2 mins read

September 13, 2015

Do you want to get more out of your holiday? A good tip for when you travel is to learn a few phrases of the local language. By doing this it will enrich your experience, even if you only learn to speak a few words.

Many places which Ethical Travel Portal visit, English is not commonly spoken. At least not among the elders, so a few phrases are always appreciated amongst the local people.


I am currently travelling in Vietnam, trying my best to learn a few Vietnamese phrases. One of the best ways to start is to learn how to greet people! As a traveller, you are the visitor, and it is only polite to greet people when you meet them. Right? Let’s begin with, Xin Chao! Hello!

Why not advance a little and ask them how they are doing, or for example in Vietnamese you would say are you well?” which is “Co khoe khong?”To reply to this you would say “Toi khoe, cam on”. Which means in English “I am well, thank you”. Of course, you may not be well, but that is for an advanced course!

Another important word to know; is how to say thank you. This was my second word to learn in Vietnamese, and it is simply “Cam on”. It’s easy to pronounce this; just think about “come on” in English. Once you know these in Vietnamese, you have learned the basics.

Further on conversation can become more interactive to know how to tell the locals your name and where you come from. We are the visitors, of course, the people that you visit are curious where you are coming from! In my home town, when I see a traveller I too am also curious.

Here are some further useful Vietnamese phrases:

What is your name? Ten ban la gi?

My name is Linda. Ten toi la Linda

Yes (vâng) and no (Không) are always handy!

Now look, we have a conversation going! Why not wrap it up with a “nice to meet you” “Rat vui khi gap ban” and “Goodbye” “Chao tam biet”? If you get to this point, you have definitely increased the number of your precious memories!

Then, of course, you have those few practical phrases to know. Like when you are shopping (learn to ask if your souvenir is locally made for example), at a restaurant (ask for the local food and drinks!) Or when you are travelling!

And then, you have the pronunciation…But do not worry too much, just try, and the locals will correct you! People will appreciate your efforts!

Before you travel, do your research and learn a few words. If you are travelling with a tour operator, ask them for a shortlist of the most important phrases of the language to the country that you are travelling to. Make the most out of your holiday!

And last but not least, a smile always goes a long way…

Hen gap lai!

(see you again!)


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